Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Puri, June 24:
Under fire for its inept handling of the affairs of the Nabakalebara, the Shree Jagannath Temple Administration (SJTA) today cracked the whip suspending two Daitapatis – the father-son duo of Kashinath Das Mohapatra and Jayakrushna Das Mohapatra – for the chaos inside the temple leading to an inordinate delay in the Brahma Parivartan ritual of the deities inside the Jagannath temple here on June 15.
“Jayakrushna Das Mohapatra and his father Kashinath Das Mohapatra have been suspended from Daita Seva for an indefinite period under section 21 (B) of the Shree Jagannath Temple Act, 1954,” SJTA chief administrator Suresh Mohapatra announced on Wednesday evening.
Kashinath Das Mohapatra, it may be noted, is the elder brother of Ramakrushna Das Mohapatra, the president of the Daitapati Nijog.
Jayakrushna had insisted on taking his father inside leading to the delay in the all-important ritual, the chief administrator said.
“As you know, we have been hearing from senior Daitapatis about what exactly transpired during the Brahma Parivartan. Yesterday, we heard five senior Daiatapatis, including the president and secretary of the Daitapati Nijog and the Pati Mmohapatra. On Monday, the four badagrahis had given their versions of the events. Based on the depositions of these nine, we came to the conclusion that these two were mainly responsible for the delay,” he said.
“When the four badagrahis were about to enter the Anasara Pindi for the Brahma Parivartan, Jayakrushna suddenly insisted that his father also be allowed to go in. When the four badagrahis refused, there was a heated argument leading to the delay,” Mohapatra said.
The suspended father-son duo reacted sharply to the SJTA decision threatening to take the matter to the court.
“I question the justification of our suspension on the basis of the Record of Rights of the Jagannath temple. I had gone there abiding by the norms mentioned in the Record of Rights. If it’s not done (suspension is not revoked), we would be forced to knock on the doors of the court,” said Kashinath Das Mohapatra, reacting to his suspension by the SJTA.
His suspended son Jayakrushna Das Mohapatra claimed that there had been no violation of tradition in his father being present in the Anasara Pindi at the time of the Brahma Parivartan.
“The Record of Rights clearly mentions that Ghata Parivartan is done exclusively by Badagrahis and others remain present there. I have participated in the last two Nabakalebara rituals in 1977 and 1996. In 1977, my grandfather Adhara Das Mohapatra was present during the ritual and in 1996, Laxman Das Mohapatra, Bhubanananda Das Mohapatra and Dinabandhu Swain Mohapatra were present during the ritual apart from the Badagrahis,” he said.
It was Haladhar Das Mohapatra, the dalapati (leader) of the Banajaga Yatra team and badagrahi of Lord Balabhadra who had first spilled the beans about Jayakrushna Das Mohapatra’s shenanigans leading to the inordinate delay in the Brahma Parivartan soon after coming out of the temple on June 16 evening.